Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Naked Tails


Title: Naked Tails
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN:  978-1-62380-243-1
Genre: {M/M}, Shape-shifter
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Critter Nymph

Seth’s life changed, in more ways than he realizes, after the death of his parents.  Years later, when his aunt dies, he must return to Possum Kingdom to tie up her affairs. Things in Possum Kingdom are like nothing he has ever seen before and when he finds out what is really going on, he begins to wonder if he’s fallen down the rabbit hole.

When readers think shape-shifter, nine times out of ten times wolves and felines come to mind.  While this is not a bad thing, every once in a while readers look for something fresh and Eden Winters Naked Tails is just the thing, as the author puts a couple of spins on the popular genre that will keep you glued to the story.

The main characters, Seth and Dustin were, at one time, friends, yet when Seth is forced to leave Possum Kingdom, the two grew apart.  I liked that when Seth has to come back to Possum Kingdom, there is an attraction there but also a bit of a gap as well.  There is no intense ‘mating’ urge that usually shows up in shifter stories, which gives the men’s relationship a realistic feel as they try to overcome the distance between them.  There is also the fact that Seth has absolutely no clue that he, or most of the town, are shape-shifters.  Even the mythology of the shape-shifters in this story is different than what we usually see and I liked the way the author chose to change Seth and make him aware of what has always been right in front of his eyes.

There are many secondary characters in Naked Tails that help move the story along.  While there are a couple of them that will leave you wanting to smack them upside the head, most will leave you chuckling.  As you would expect, there are a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings, some helped along by the secondary characters.  The author, however, does a great job wrapping up the loose ends of this story and I liked seeing Seth become the man he would have been had he been able to stay in Possum Kingdom as a child.

Naked Tails was a great story to read and one book I will be reading again.  

Cardio Conditioning


Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-271-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

When his doctor suggests regular exercise might help regulate his blood sugar, Jerry March joins a gym. He’s insecure about his body image and worries how he’ll look to others. On his first day at the gym, he overdoes it on the treadmill, his blood sugar plummets and Jerry rouses to find he’s sitting in the lap of gorgeous Gianni Lappatura.

A few days later, Jerry sees Gianni at the club where he works as an opera singing stripper. When he’s ready to leave and realizes Gianni is having car trouble, Jerry gives him a ride. He’s happy to help and even more happy when the sexy hunk asks him on a date. After some disastrous relationships Jerry’s hoping for a chance at happiness. Is it possible with a guy like Gianni, who seems so perfect? Can Gianni understand what it feels to be flawed?

Cardio Conditioning is the latest release in Andrew Grey’s Work Out series. The returning characters don’t play important roles, so the book can be read as a standalone.

On the surface Jerry and Gianni are different but Mr. Grey has once again created a perfect couple because in actuality both men have insecurities they need to worth through. How smart is it that the author deals with the same problem in both men—how each feels about their body and how others react to it—just from different perspectives. I enjoyed watching these two likeable men develop their relationship—and fall in love—while dealing with their individual problems.

For a release of this length their personalities are pretty well developed and I felt I knew them well, and what they wanted out of life. The pacing is smooth throughout, the descriptions of Jerry and his health issues handled believably and the sex is sizzling hot. Be aware that there isn’t a lot of angst. It’s a fun and entertaining read and fits in nicely with the other books in the series. I look forward to the next release.

The Strength of the Pack


Author:  Kendall McKenna
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-60820-8449
Genre: {M/M} Werewolf Series
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

As Marines, Lieutenant Lucas Young and Sergeant Noah Hammond have something in common; protect and serve duty first attitudes. However, Lucas is human with little knowledge regarding the needs of werewolves. Fortunately for Lucas, Alpha werewolf Noah joins the unit. Before long, Lucas and Noah become a legend in the midst of the military forces, not merely because of their fighting abilities but because of the special bond Lucas and Noah share.

The Strength of the Pack is the first book in The Tameness of the Wolf series.
This is an impressive plot featuring life in the military. What I found particularly fascinating are the American werewolf soldiers in combat with Middle Eastern werewolf soldiers. The characters are remarkable. I am especially fond of Noah, who exhibits authoritative yet self-controlled rule over the pack. As the Alpha, Noah insures that no werewolf is left behind during their full moon runs or in combat. With Lucas, Noah is temperate as well as tolerant. Noah teaches Lucas the importance of touching. Having had no training dealing with werewolves prior to Noah joining the unit, Lucas is often confused by his feelings for Noah. Nevertheless, Lucas slowly begins to comprehend the strong personal connection he has with Noah.

Kendall McKenna has created an exceptional saga that I enormously enjoyed. The storyline illustrates war zone action along with military dialog, heartwarming characters that are sometimes amusing as well as being incredibly endearing. 

Moonstruck


Title: Moonstruck
Authors:  Piper Vaughn & M.J. O'Shea
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL: www.loose-id.com
ISBN/BIN: 9781611189735
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Surya Patel loves being the drummer for the group Moonlight but he’s not thrilled when his label wants a joint album with another popular band, Luck. Everyone involved thinks it’s a great idea except for Sur because he had a one-night stand with Emmanuel, Luck’s manager. It ended with Sur leaving abruptly when he should have stayed and he’s regretted it since. He doesn’t know how to deal with Em on daily basis and it’s driving him nuts.

For the past year, Em’s kept thinking of the great night he spent with Surya.  He regrets that Surya left in the middle of the night when they had such a good time together but now he has to put on his professional face and act like a manager and not a scorned lover.  Being in close proximity leads to another night of sizzling sex but this time Em takes off without warning. Surya’s feelings are hurt when Em leaves because now he knows what he wants—it’s Em but he just doesn’t know how to tell him.

Moonstruck is the third release in the Lucky Moon series and brings back many of the characters from the previous releases, so that means you need to read them in order to avoid confusion.

I like Surya and Em. They’re both interesting guys but it took me awhile to warm up to them as a couple. I just didn’t get a good feel for their history together at the start. Eventually their being together won out and now I can’t imagine them apart. I also really appreciate their mixed ethnicity. It bought in an interesting difference and cultural problems that hadn’t been dealt with in the other books. Despite how poorly Sur’s parents reacted - how hateful and bigoted they were – it’s handled nicely and his parents yell but never get physical. I appreciate the author’s restraint with this issue.

There’s a lot of angst and tension between Em and Surya for a huge portion of the book and of examination on how each is feeling. It got a little old when other more active things could have been going on to move the plot along. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the story. I found Em and Sur’s attempt to find a happily-ever-after entertaining but it’s definitely my least favorite of the three.

Flirting With Danger


Author:  Elizabeth Lapthorne
Publisher:  Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL:  www.total-e-bound.com
ISBN/BIN:  978-0-85715-963-2
Genre:  {M/F}, Mystery, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

The lunch date Skye was supposed to have with her father turns into a run for her life.  After she contacts Jack, they start working to find her father in order to get him back but find out there is a mole in the agency her father works for.

Flirting With Danger is the first book in The Agency series and the author starts it off with a bang, literally.  Ms. Lapthorne keeps the suspense going in this very fast-paced story.  I did have to laugh at part of the ending though, as I did guess that part of it as I read.

There are a few secondary characters that move the story along and we will be sure to see in future stories.  Skye and Jack aren’t sure who to trust, but know they have to take the chance on her father’s partner, Garth.  There was one character that I felt like slapping as she seemed more interested in questioning things instead of acting once the reason Skye’s father was taken come to light.

The chemistry between Skye and Jack is very intense.  Both are surprised at how quickly they seem to connect and talk about a future together, despite all the intrigue going on. 

I am looking forward to reading this series as there are a few things that were left hanging.  I am looking forward to reading about some of the characters introduced in Flirting With Danger.

Lycan Partnership


Author: Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62380-312-4 
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

The Morvan werewolf pack is having fertility problems. Their females can’t conceive, their numbers are decreasing and the alpha is desperate and asks for help from the wizards at l'Institut. As the institute leader, Raymond knows little about werewolves but finds a young wizard, Marc Gourlin, who’s interested in werewolves and who agrees to help. On arriving at the pack, Marc finds that he’s attracted to the shaman, Adenet Silaire. Despite their intense pull and Marc’s belief that they’re mates, Adenet rebuffs his interest because the pack needs him to mate with a female to increase their numbers.

While Marc’s helping the pack, Jean and Raymond make an accidental discovery about the Aveu de Sang they never expected but when Thierry tries to use it on Sebastian without the same kind of bond, it almost ends in disaster.

Lycan Partnership is a spin-off of Ariel Tachn’s Partnership in Blood series. Because of the returning characters and relationships, being familiar with the previous books is needed.

It’s great being back in the world of vampires and wizards created by Ms. Tachna and bringing werewolves into this mix—a simple idea with lots of plot potential. This story is well constructed and written, ties in nicely with the series foundation by using numerous previous characters in integral roles and as expected from this talented author—has vivid descriptions. I really enjoyed learning about Adenet’s pack and their culture. Sigh—even more would have been better.

Marc and Adenet, as our primary couple, have interesting differences that played out well. By that I mean their personal conflict and because of Adenet’s stubbornness, there’s plenty of angst for them to deal with. I’m left with a feeling of wanting more books featuring this couple or other werewolf packs from this world in the future.

My niggle—As much as I like the characters from the previous releases, at times their secondary plot line totally overshadowed what was going on with Marc and Adenet. I mean it didn’t have anything to do with what was going on with their relationship or the pack. I have a feeling we’ll see a reason for this side development in a future release. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it; I just wanted more of Marc and Adenet in this book.